Hootsuite is enjoying similar growth. The company just surpassed 16 million users (up from 10 million in 2014) and recently raised $50 million in growth capital.
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If real-time content is having its moment, why are scheduling platforms doing so well? Why do investors and customers continue to place their trust in tools that, on the surface, appear to be losing relevance?
The Calm Before The Storm?
Scheduling platforms have long had their challenges. For one, they rely on access to APIs that social media platforms can alter or revoke at any time.Snapchat, for example, has historically remained closed off to developers, though is now considering some small concessions. Instagram only recently allowed scheduling for photos (but not for videos), and Facebook is taking away the ability to schedule posts on personal Facebook profiles.
But scheduling platforms now face a challenge of a completely different nature: platforms and consumers appear to be moving further away from content that can be scheduled in the first place. And yet, from a financial standpoint, Buffer and Hootsuite seem to be doing just fine.
What gives? Are businesses just so slow at adopting new digital trends that we’re witnessing the calm before the storm
Kevan Lee, Buffer’s Director of Marketing, thinks so.
“Stories, live video, and disappearing content haven’t quite reached that saturation point yet where every company is using it,” said Lee. “It’s still an exploratory area, and largely a consumer-driven area too.”
But the glacial pace at which businesses are adopting Instagram Stories and Facebook Live is only part of the answer.
“Even with the rise of real-time formats, marketers have shown no signs of moving away from pre-planned content forming the foundation of their campaigns,” explained Penny Wilson, Hootsuite’s CMO.
In fact, social media management software is increasingly becoming an expected component of any business’s social media strategy. In the same way that businesses track and analyze website analytics, brands today are increasingly getting serious about scheduling, tracking, and improving their social media channels.
According to a 2017 Clutch survey, 79 percent of social media marketers either use management software themselves or outsource the work to agencies and consultants. That number — according to Hootsuite and Buffer’s customer data does not appear to be slowing any time soon.